“On the Basis of Sex” Showcases Ginsburg’s Rise to Iconicism

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“On the Basis of Sex” Showcases Ginsburg’s Rise to Iconicism

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The film, “On the Basis of Sex,” follows young lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg through her law school days and the trials and tribulations before finally litigating her history-changing cases.

Starting in the 1950s and moving forward to the 1970s, the plot showcases the historic case of Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Ginsburg’s first case to chip away at gender discrimination.

Attending law school as a woman in the 1950s was a miracle in itself, but Ginsburg was always determined to leave her mark in the legal world.

Once a graduate, Ginsburg could not find a law position as a woman, but she then became a professor at Rutgers Law School.

Although she enjoyed teaching gender law to future lawyers, Ginsburg stated her missed aspirations in a pivotal scene with husband, Marty Ginsburg, a tax lawyer.

The scene allows Ruth to fully acknowledge her career visions and disappointment.

Ruth wants to be one to leave a strong impact in American law and society, and end gender discrimination.

Even though somberness is painted in the scene, without her disappointments, Ruth may not have embarked on her journey.

A soft spot of the film is Armie Hammer’s portrayal of Marty who supports Ruth and any endeavor she took on.

The movie emphasizes Marty and Ruth’s marriage as equals — an uncommon relationship for the time. Marty has no problem cooking for the family and taking care of his children while Ruth works on her case or lectures for class.

The support of Ruth’s family can be seen through the film. Even when others doubt Ruth, her family encourages her to never quit.

The relationship between Ruth and her daughter, Jane, definitely grows through the course of the case.

Jane’s character growth is illustrated through her better understanding of her mother and appreciation for her work and the legal system.

Ruth’s time as a professor of gender law at Rutgers helps her draw inspiration from her students and the younger generation.

In her arguments for Moritz, Ginsburg used this background and inspiration to urge the judges to consider the next generation and their changes.

She also professed the importance of expanding their opportunities.

In this way, much faith is put in the younger generation, including Ginsburg’s daughter, to truly show the cultural changes of the 1970s and how the law must reflect this.

This can be seen in an important scene between Ruth and Jane which gave Ginsburg hope for the verdict of her case.

In the scene, mother and daughter hail a cab only to be catcalled by construction workers. Jane confronts the men even after her mother tells her to ignore them.

The act sparks a light in her mind when Ginsburg realizes her daughter is a prime example of the next generation’s cultural changes.

She then found new roots for her cause while illustrating to the audience a lesson in finding a new perspective.

“A court ought not be affected by the weather of the day, but will be by the climate of the era.”

The previous quote stated by Professor Freund at Rutgers Law School plays a significant role in the case arguments further in the film. The statement helps to identify the cultural impact society has on laws and vice versa.

Both as Ginsburg’s defense and a philosophical statement, the movie implores viewers to reflect upon whether our laws correlate with twenty first century ideals.

The question asked: is our modern society reflected into our legal system?

Often seen as a legal heroine, Ruth faced early struggles, many because of her gender.

Ginsburg is seen as an icon in American law and politics, but the film humanizes her by showing her early struggles.

The movie shares the real life story of Ginsburg, leaving themes for moviegoers to take away, and makes viewers think about the laws of our lives.

Ginsburg’s story encourages everyone to pursue their aspirations unapologetically.

Even with the naysayers, Ginsburg forges her own path — something anyone can do in their own life.